This week, I'd like to speak a bit on how we can maintain a sense of self while fulfilling the constant need to make others happy. Every day, I am asked to impersonate another guitarist. This is not as difficult as it sounds. I only have to do it for a few brief measures. However, this daily job requirement can often confuse the session player when it comes time to showcase who you really are. We are not a normal breed.
I like to create templates to make work flow as easy and creative as possible! If you are not familiar with the term, the online dictionary offers this definition: "A document or file having a preset format, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used."
We all strive to play our best. In my particular line of studio work, I am called upon to improvise in many styles daily; sometimes many styles in the same song. This particular song was going to be trouble. I knew it. The engineer who sent it to me knew it, and the artist had suspicions. Here's how it went down.
Years ago, when I was just beginning to think I could be a guitarist, I decided to take lessons from the best I could find. Some known, most not so much. But all great players. I concentrated my efforts on jazz because I figured if I could get a handle on the intricacies of jazz improvisation, soloing on pop rock and blues would be infinitely easier.
Mae West said something like, "Too much of a good thing is wonderful!" As much as I somewhat agree, sometimes having "less is more" as my mantra does more to make me feel alive and creative! Let's look at a few ideas. I'd deeply appreciate you giving them a shot. You may learn a bit about yourself. And as an added bonus, your recordings, performance and overall sound will improve. I promise.
Take a look around. Your "studio"/ workplace is probably in a room in your house. Box 1. Your literal vision/optics are being viewed on a screen from a computer. Box 2. You may even look at your musical knowledge and improvisational skills based around the box method. Scale patterns. Theory. Rules. Limitations. Box 3.
It is during this time of year we tend to make resolutions to change the things that are not working in our lives, and to strengthen our weak points and develop our strong points. I thought you might enjoy my list of guitar resolutions! I would love to see yours in the comments section below.
A project came my way that I think you will find interesting. What I'm about to describe is commonplace in the world of recording today. It's about how so much of today's music is not recorded in the same location. Or even the same city. Or continent. The name of the group is Triphon. They play what is described as Euro/American metal. It is hard, loud and melodic. Great music. Talented players.
In this blog post, I'd like to pose the question: Can you handle the stresses of session playing? Every day I awake to a new set of musical challenges. These must be met along with our regular, everyday personal needs. Here's an example: Today I have four sessions to work on, a blog to write (this one) and a phone meeting about composing music for a new reality show.